Open main menu

Lancaster railway station (formerly known as Lancaster Castle railway station) is a railway station that serves the city of Lancaster in Lancashire, England. It is one of the principal stations on the West Coast Main Line. It is located 20 miles 78 chains (33.76 km) from Preston and is the zero point for mileages onward to Carlisle.[2]

Lancaster National Rail
2015 at Lancaster station - main building.JPG
Local authorityCity of Lancaster
Coordinates54°02′53″N 2°48′25″W / 54.048°N 2.807°W / 54.048; -2.807Coordinates: 54°02′53″N 2°48′25″W / 54.048°N 2.807°W / 54.048; -2.807
Grid referenceSD472617
Station codeLAN
Managed byVirgin Trains
Number of platforms5
DfT categoryB
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 1.915 million
2014/15Increase 2.004 million
2015/16Increase 2.034 million
2016/17Increase 2.147 million
2017/18Decrease 2.143 million
Original companyLancaster and Carlisle Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
22 September 1846Opened as Lancaster Castle[1]
5 May 1969Renamed Lancaster[1]
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Lancaster from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.


The 1852 extension includes a relief carving of the coat of arms of Lancaster.

Originally known as 'Lancaster Castle Station' in order to distinguish it from the first Lancaster Station (1840–1849), Lancaster station was officially opened on 21 September 1846. The first public service ran into the station on 17 December the same year. The station was built as the southern terminus of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway after the initial planned route for the line - which would have followed the Lancaster Canal and crossing the River Lune from Ladies Walk to Skerton - was changed in favour of a cheaper route west of the city.

The station was remodelled in 1900-1906 when additional lines and platforms were added and further station buildings constructed.[3] The new buildings were styled mock-Elizabethan with the intention of mirroring the battlements of the nearby Lancaster Castle. Platforms 5 and 6 (on the east side of the station) were electrified in 1908 to serve the now-closed Midland Railway route to Morecambe and Heysham. This line closed in January 1966 and the overhead line equipment was removed.

The track layout in the station area was rationalised in 1973 when control of the signalling was transferred to the new Preston Power Signal Box. This included the removal of the track from Platform 6, although this platform had seen no regular use for some time prior to this. The West Coast Main Line through Lancaster was electrified in 1974, and regular electric passenger services recommenced at the station 7 May 1974.


The main building constructed in 1846 by William Tite was situated on the west side of the line in Tudor Revival style using roughly squared sandstone rubble. This two-storey building was extended southwards in 1852 in similar style although this section terminated in a tower of three storeys. A new entrance was constructed in 1900 on the eastern side of the line at footbridge level; this is nearer the town and houses the remaining ticket office.[3]

The booking office is open throughout the week, closing only in the late evening (ticket machines are also available). A full range of facilities is offered, including a newsagents whilst there is also a buffet, waiting rooms and toilets on both sides and lifts between the footbridge and platforms.[4] The station is therefore fully accessible for disabled passengers. The entrance through the original building remains open. This opens onto Platform 3 which is mostly used by northbound services. Two bay platforms to the north of this are used by terminating trains off the various branches to Heysham Port, Barrow-in-Furness and the Cumbria Coast Line, Morecambe, Windermere and Leeds.

Two through lines without platforms separate these three platforms from the remainder of the station; these are used by non-stop passenger services and freight trains. Beyond is Platform 4, which is the principal one used by southbound trains but as with platform 3 it can be used for trains going on both directions. This is an island platform with a second face, Platform 5, which can be used by both northbound and southbound trains or by terminating services. All platforms are signalled for arrivals and departures in either direction. Opposite Platform 5 are the remains of Platform 6 which has no track and has been out of use for many years.


A Virgin service to London, arriving at platform 4

Lancaster is served by several train operators.

Virgin Trains operate express trains from London Euston to Glasgow Central using Pendolino trains, and from London Euston to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Birmingham New Street using Virgin Super Voyager or Virgin Pendolino trains. Early morning or late evening services to/from Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central or Carlisle or Lancaster start or terminate at Birmingham New Street and peak services to and from London terminate and start at Lancaster or Carlisle. A few services to/from Crewe also terminate/start at Lancaster. These services normally use platforms 3 and 4.[5]

A First TransPennine Express Class 350, at platform 4, waiting to travel south

TransPennine Express operate regional express services from Manchester Airport and Preston to Edinburgh and Glasgow via the West Coast Main Line using Class 350 EMUs. These services also use platforms 3 and 4.[6]

Northern operate local & regional services along the Furness Line to Barrow-in-Furness and then onto Carlisle via the Cumbria Coast Line, to Windermere via Oxenholme and the Windermere Branch Line (since the April 2016 franchise changeover), the Morecambe Branch Line to Morecambe and Heysham and the Leeds to Morecambe Line to Skipton and Leeds. These services are operated using DMUs of Classes 142, 150, 153, 156 and 185 (the latter subleased from former operator First TransPennine Express).[7] Through services use the same platforms as Virgin & TPE trains, whilst those starting & terminating here mostly use platforms 1, 2 & 5.

Lancaster & Heysham Port
Bare Lane
Heysham Port
Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Oxenholme Lake District   Virgin Trains
West Coast Main Line
Penrith North Lakes    
Oxenholme Lake District   TransPennine Express
TransPennine North West
(Manchester - Scotland)
Penrith North Lakes    
Carnforth   Northern
Furness Line
Bare Lane   Northern
Leeds to Morecambe Line
Bare Lane   Northern
Morecambe Branch Line
Carnforth   Northern Connect
Barrow-in-Furness - Manchester Airport
Oxenholme Lake District   Northern Connect
Windermere - Manchester Airport
  Future Services  
Carlisle   TransPennine Express
TransPennine North West
(Liverpool - Scotland)
Oxenholme Lake District    
Penrith North Lakes    
  Historical railways  
Hest Bank   Furness Railway   Terminus
Hest Bank   London and North Western Railway
Lancaster and Carlisle Railway
Disused railways
Lancaster Green Ayre   Midland Railway
"Little" North Western Railway
Ashton Hall   London and North Western Railway
Glasson Dock Branch Line

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  2. ^ Yonge, John; Padgett, David; Szwenk, John (August 2013) [1990]. Bridge, Mike (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 4: Midlands & North West (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. maps 28A, 28C, 29A, 29B, 29C. ISBN 978-0-9549866-7-4.
  3. ^ a b "Railway Station Building, Lancaster". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  4. ^ Lancaster station facilities National Rail Enquiries
  5. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 65 (Network Rail)
  6. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 82 (Network Rail)
  7. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Tables 42, 82 and 98 (Network Rail)

External linksEdit